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Pilsner Malt + Specialty Malts as substitutions for Maris Otter and Vienna?

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I've come up with these two ideas as 'ballpark' attempts to approximate simultaneous flavor and color matches:

Maris Otter Malt Substitute: 95.5% Pilsner Malt + 3.25% Biscuit Malt + 1.25% Melanoidin Malt

Vienna Malt Substitute: 93% Pilsner Malt + 2.25% Biscuit Malt + 4.75% Melanoidin Malt

Any other/better ballpark ideas here?

As to why I might want to do this, the reason is to keep a supply of only one base malt on hand and use it universally across a multitude of styles/recipes.
 
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Brettomomyces

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I just did this for a customer and recommended biscuit and possibly a splash of honey malt for vienna, melanoidin is not a bad idea either but ~5% might be a bit strong. I would also say that the choice of biscuit would make a big difference
 

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There is a post or thread somewhere on this site about Vienna malt. The poster had been on a malting tour somewhere in Germany and asked about Vienna. They replied that nobody did a specific kiln for it anymore. It was a blend of Pilsner and Munich malts.

Something to look into anyway. I'm pretty sure you will come up with something that works just fine.
 
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@BruceH, you may have hit the nail on the head for Vienna Malt. A blend of 75% Pilsner and 25% Weyermann Munich II should be nigh-on a dead ringer for Vienna Malt as to flavor based on a quick glance at the Weyermann flavor wheels. Color should balance also.
 

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There is a post or thread somewhere on this site about Vienna malt. The poster had been on a malting tour somewhere in Germany and asked about Vienna. They replied that nobody did a specific kiln for it anymore. It was a blend of Pilsner and Munich malts.
I'm not the original source, but when I mentioned this on reddit last year I got an awful lot of downvotes.
 
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I just did this for a customer and recommended biscuit and possibly a splash of honey malt for vienna, melanoidin is not a bad idea either but ~5% might be a bit strong. I would also say that the choice of biscuit would make a big difference
Which biscuit malt would be your preference?
 

Brettomomyces

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There is a post or thread somewhere on this site about Vienna malt. The poster had been on a malting tour somewhere in Germany and asked about Vienna. They replied that nobody did a specific kiln for it anymore. It was a blend of Pilsner and Munich malts.

Something to look into anyway. I'm pretty sure you will come up with something that works just fine.
Pretty sure that's fake news. I sell more than 8 kinds of vienna right now, it's not a blend.
 

smata67

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If Vienna is a blend of two malts, then you should be able to throw a handful down and split the grains into two distinct piles. I believe the claim was that it was a pilsner and munich blend. Should be easy to do, since the pils should be noticeably lighter in color. If the pile cannot be split due to being too uniform, then, well, it is a unique malt we might want to give its own name to. I would propose "Vienna," the city of music.
 

Brettomomyces

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If Vienna is a blend of two malts, then you should be able to throw a handful down and split the grains into two distinct piles. I believe the claim was that it was a pilsner and munich blend. Should be easy to do, since the pils should be noticeably lighter in color. If the pile cannot be split due to being too uniform, then, well, it is a unique malt we might want to give its own name to. I would propose "Vienna," the city of music.
Even with a variable roast you could tell the difference in aroma and taste immediately.

Brew a 100% Vienna beer and then a pils/munich mix beer and try to tell me they taste the same
 
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@BruceH, you may have hit the nail on the head for Vienna Malt. A blend of 75% Pilsner and 25% Weyermann Munich II should be nigh-on a dead ringer for Vienna Malt as to flavor based on a quick glance at the Weyermann flavor wheels. Color should balance also.
I've toyed with the numbers again and revised this blend slightly to read:

Vienna Malt Substitute = 76% Pilsner Malt + 24% Weyermann Munich II
 
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And for Weyermann's Munich I the ratio is:

Vienna Malt Substitute = 61% Pilsner Malt + 39% Weyermann Munich I
 
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The assumptions I made above are:

Typical Pilsner (or other very light colored base malt) = ~1.8L
Typical Weyermann Munich I = ~6.2L
Typical Weyermann Munich II = ~9L
Typical Vienna Malt = ~3.5L

0.76*1.8L + 0.24*9L ~= 3.528L (For Pilsner & Munich II)

0.61*1.8L + 0.39*6.2L ~= 3.516L (For Pilsner & Munich I)

Further refinement to hit 3.50L is possible for both, but given the broad variability in actual vs. presumed Lovibond colors from lot to lot for the malts involved it is unlikely to be worth the effort.
 
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smata67

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I just looked at some Avangard Vienna and Munich I have and the Vienna looks a tad lighter overall and fairly uniform, don't think there is Munich in there. But many more stems than I've seen in any batch of grain before. It was 30% cheaper, so can't complain I guess.
 
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It goes without saying that "true" Vienna malt will be uniform in color. But this thread is about substitutions. And about attempting to discover substitutions which when incorporated yield beer as close as is possible in flavor and color characteristics to having used the real thing. Thus haggling over what is or is not Vienna malt is somewhat sidetracking things. To the extent that it is not sidetracking, it shows that the potential exists for the worlds various Maltsters to play the very same game that I'm attempting to play here.
 
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@BruceH, you may have hit the nail on the head for Vienna Malt. A blend of 75% Pilsner and 25% Weyermann Munich II should be nigh-on a dead ringer for Vienna Malt as to flavor based on a quick glance at the Weyermann flavor wheels. Color should balance also.
Larry, you are seriously scaring me.

Vienna tastes NOTHING like a pils/munich blend. Have you actually tasted them?

We live in the time and age, where, in the time it took you to create said series of posts you could have emailed Weyermann and got the correct response. Infact, I did that! When this nonsense came out years ago.



Greetings all! Fröhliche Weihnachten

I just wanted to ask as there is a rumor going around here in the US and I thought I would go to the source. Can you speak to any of this?

"I work at a brewery in Germany and the Brewmaster told me that a classmate of his (from brewing school) took a job at Weyermann after their studies and this classmate apparently told my boss that the Vienna malt is just Munich 1 blended off with their Pale Ale. Could have been bullshit, obviously, but why would he lie about something like that. I’ll ask my boss about it again today."

[later]

"So, my boss confirmed that was what his former classmate told him. Apparently, Weyermann just blend off a base malt (he couldn’t remember if it was Pale or Pils) with Munich until the blend reaches the correct EBC. To speculate further, their Barke line consists of Pils, Munich and Vienna. Coincidence?"

Comment by another person:

"On a tour of the Stamag maltings in Vienna, the maltser told us that nowadays Vienna is a blend of Munich and Pilsner. We were surprised about this but he insisted this was the case everywhere. I assume he was referring to maltings in the German-speaking world. I asked some brewers about this after, and one of them said that he had heard this before from another brewer."


Thanks for your time



Richter, Andreas <[email protected]>
Jan 8, 2018, 3:44 AM


to Thomas, Marina, Lisa, me, Andrea




Dear Bryan,



Thank you for your email.



Weyermann® produces different Pale Malt Types (e.g. Weyermann® Pilsner Malt, Weyermann® Premium® Pilsner Malt , Weyermann® Barke® Pilsner Malt, Weyermann® Bohemian® Malt) as well as Weyermann® Pale Ale Malt and Weyermann® Pilsner Malt and Weyermann® Barke® Pilsner Malt, Weyermann® Barke® Vienna Malt, Weyermann® Vienna Malt.



All these products (just like ALL Weyermann® products) are produced, stored and packed separately.


For color correction in Pale Ale Malt and Vienna Malt a minor blending with Munich Malt or Pilsner Malt might be necessary.

Kind regards from Bamberg





Sourcing and context with accurate data is king.

@Paulaner
 
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Seems to me like proof that if a batch of Vienna comes out of the kiln at 4.4L they admit that it is acceptable to add Pilsner malt until it is ~3.5L, and if a batch of Vienna malt comes out of the kiln at 2.8L they add Munich malt until it is ~3.5L. What it does do however is squash the rumor that Vienna malt is no longer being kilned as such.

But (to me at least) the Weyermann flavor wheel for Vienna appears quite similar overall to the Weyermann flavor wheel for Munich.
 
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Seems to me like proof that if a batch of Vienna comes out of the kiln at 4.4L they admit that it is acceptable to add Pilsner malt until it is ~3.5L, and if a batch of Vienna malt comes out of the kiln at 2.8L they add Munich malt until it is ~3.5L. What it does do however is squash the rumor that Vienna malt is no longer being kilned as such.

But (to me at least) the Weyermann flavor wheel for Vienna appears quite similar overall to the Weyermann flavor wheel for Munich.
No Larry, again that’s all conjecture. These are made up guidelines in your head. How many batches out of 1000 are out of spec and actually have to be augmented? How do you know what Weyermanns malting standards are? I could say the reverse and say 1 out of 750 batches are coming off the “line” At 3.71 and they are using pils to get 3.70. But, I’m not because I have not asked the source. That’s the whole point.
 

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Back to the original intent and subsequent posts by the OP- it appears that you are correcting for color, but don't forget flavor. A blend of pilsner and munich will taste differently at different proportions. I would be blending more for flavor than color.
 
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Back to the original intent and subsequent posts by the OP- it appears that you are correcting for color, but don't forget flavor. A blend of pilsner and munich will taste differently at different proportions. I would be blending more for flavor than color.
One has to start somewhere. A color match is a reasonable initial launching point.
 
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Here are the Weyermann characteristics for the various players:

Vienna.png Munich.png Pilsner.png

It can be seen that Vienna and Munich are about as close a match as one can expect to find.
 
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I think we have gone about as far as is possible with the potential for Vienna malt substitution. Now I suggest that we move on to Maris Otter. What unique flavors do you detect for Maris Otter as opposed to Pilsner malt, and what specialty malts might bring along with them those flavors?
 

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Here are the Weyermann characteristics for the various players:

View attachment 673122 View attachment 673123 View attachment 673124

It can be seen that Vienna and Munich are about as close a match as one can expect to find.
Have you ever tasted any of these grains individually? Ever done test mashes to get a feel for the individual flavors? I’ll come right out and say that their flavors are distinct.

I think what you are describing may only yield the desired color but not flavors of the malts you are “cloning”.
 
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Have you ever tasted any of these grains individually? Ever done test mashes to get a feel for the individual flavors? I’ll come right out and say that their flavors are distinct.

I think what you are describing may only yield the desired color but not flavors of the malts you are “cloning”.
Yes to tasting each raw malt grain
No to doing test mashes of the proposed bends
I agree that getting perfect matches for flavor is a stretch
 

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Yes to tasting each raw malt grain
No to doing test mashes of the proposed bends
I agree that getting perfect matches for flavor is a stretch
If I were you, I would try and blend base malts rather than a base malt and a specialty malt.

For instance, if you were going to try and approximate Vienna, try some Pils and Pale Ale malts or Pils and some light Munich. Or better yet, just use Vienna.

As for Maris Otter, I’m not a user of that malt but at the end of the day, a blend of British Pale Ale malts might be closer than Pils and specialties.

Just my $0.02.
 

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Good pils malt has it's own unique flavour - you can add other malts but the pils flavour will still be there. You'd get a better approximation using cheap pale malt (2 row) + specialty malts (or other base malts). Or just use the correct tool for the job in the first place!

FWIW, I don't notice enough of a difference between MO and domestic (Australian) ale malt to make MO worth the difference in price (20% premium). So IMO the best substitute for MO would be any other pale ale malt. If you only have pils malt, accept that the beer will be noticeably different.
 

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Think I would just toast up some of that pilsner in the oven to make it darker.
It's easy to do and gives pretty good results.

Google home toasted malt.

All the Best,
D. White
 

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Good pils malt has it's own unique flavour - you can add other malts but the pils flavour will still be there. You'd get a better approximation using cheap pale malt (2 row) + specialty malts (or other base malts). Or just use the correct tool for the job in the first place!
While I like the theory of this thread, that is what I was thinking. I have been moving toward keeping 3 base grains on hand (European Pils, American Pale, European Pale Ale). I like the idea of just having 2 base malts (or just 1?).

I have not used a lot of Pils in the past, but the Weyermann Bohemian Pils I have on hand now has a significant amount of flavors that I would not expect in a Pale Ale Malt. Briess Brewer's malt also has a straw character that I would not expect in a Pale Ale Malt. I doubt it would get covered up with a touch of specialty malt. Maybe you could find a very bland malt, but I am not sure what...an extra pale malt or a bland pilsner?.
 

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Lots of comments and no ideas as substitutions for Maris Otter with Pilsner Malt + Specialty Malts....
 

Big Monk

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Lots of comments and no ideas as substitutions for Maris Otter with Pilsner Malt + Specialty Malts....
You want Maris Otter? Buy Maris Otter. There are so many other things in brewing to worry about, that I wouldn’t be quick to try and mix 2 or more malts to clone the color or flavor of one malt. Especially when I can just buy that one malt!

I’m more for mixing base malts to establish an over that combines the best of those malts. Pils and Vienna, Pils and Pale Ale, Pils and Munich, etc.
 
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